Byline: KATE CROCKETT
UNDERGRADUATES with aspirations of earning big bucks descend on the City of London this week for a unique careers event involving 12 investment banks.
Between now and Thursday, 180 students from higher education institutions around the country will be joining the second annual GTI Capital Chances initiative, which aims to raise awareness of financial career opportunities among underrepresented groups.
Capital Chances is a careers event with a difference. It is an experiencebased initiative taking place on location in the City offices of participating firms, where interested undergraduates can discover firsthand what it is like to work in a financial institution. There are opportunities to meet the people who work there, from graduate trainees to senior staff, and try your hand at solving some of the day-today problems faced by bankers and traders, through realistic games and scenarios. The theme of this week's event is ethnic minorities in investment banking, but specialist graduate publisher GTI also organises a Capital Chances event specifically for women interested in careers in investment banking; the next one takes place in June.
The event is an opportunity for individual firms to promote their organisation and its opportunities to an enthusiastic audience of students, and, more importantly, an audience that will provide them with a diverse humanresources pool for the future.
"We are continuously looking to widen the base of people applying to us or who are, at least, thinking about investment banking," explains Terence Perrin, head of graduate and MBA recruitment at Dresdner Kleinwort Wasserstein (DRKW). Capital Chances is one of the initiatives through which DRKW plans to achieve this broad potential candidate base.
Each student attends a series of workshops and discussions held over 24 hours at two of the participating organisations. The first day starts at 4.30pm, with icebreaker games to get the delegates relaxed and happy working together, and question-and-answer sessions with the representatives from the host institutions. The second day is spent on a series of activities and exercises providing an insight into the different aspects of banking. " Everything from corporate finance to trading," says Mark Blythe, joint MD of organiser GTI. "They go away having touched on all the areas during the day.
It's pretty exhausting."
Perrin says DRKW hopes students will leave Capital Chances with "a better understanding of what investment banking involves and more awareness of the career opportunities on offer". He adds: "We hope they find out a little bit more about the company and see that we are a leading player within the sector.
"We've found it amazingly positive in that 84 per cent of students who came along to Capital Chances now have a greater interest in investment banking as a direct result." He quotes the feedback statistics compiled from last year's delegates, saying: "Perhaps most powerfully for us, 97 per cent of the students who come along, go away and tell their friends, so that raises awareness when they get back on campus. The more we can do to promote the careers and opportunities we have within the investment banking sector to as wide an audience as possible, the better."
Blythe says: "The formula has been extremely effective and successful for all parties."
According to the feedback, more than half the students who took part in Capital Chances last year have applied for internships with an investment bank this summer or plan to do so. …